History of Management Theory

Running Head: HISTORY OF MANAGEMENT THEORY History of Management Theory Troy Thompson 5409 Foxglove Drive, Bossier City, LA 71112 318-918-7413 [email protected] com MSM 500 May 21, 2010 Class Instructor: Dr. David Bouvin Ellis University Introduction People and processes are the main elements under management purview, and it is interesting to learn how managerial philosophy pertaining to these two elements has evolved from the Industrial Revolution throughout the Progression Era and into the modern workplace.

The purpose of this paper will focus on Frederick Taylor’s Scientific Management, also known as the Taylor System, and Elton Mayo’s Human Relations business models and how they relate to this managerial evolution. Both Taylor and Mayo were iconic masterminds who lit the torch of innovative management for America to progress out from days of uncontrolled process variation and unethical human treatment towards a new beginning of quality management and human respect in the workplace.

The primary sources examined are Chapter 1 of Frederick Taylor’s The Principles of Scientific Management, and The Encylopedia of the History of American Management, Elton Mayo. Both sources will guide this paper in the direction of modern day relevancy. The Taylor System Before the Taylor System, factories during the Industrial Revolution concentrated on meeting the demand agriculture commerce from both home and abroad (Montagna, 1981). The focus was not necessarily on quality or the treatment of human labor (Montagna, 1981). Instead, the environment reflected heavy-and-go forms of process flow combined with poorly supervised labor.

With his engineering mind and passion for efficiency, Taylor responded to these inadequacies and began his efforts of applying mathematics and engineering principles to eliminate unnecessary effort in operations. The Taylor System gave birth to the following management practices: Incentive-Driven work performances, Time-Motion Studies, Centralized Management, Task Specialization, and Quality Control (Taylor, 1911). All these adoptions gave rise to a new management school of thought centered around a more productive work place, which Taylor considered to be “maximum prosperity” (Taylor, 1911).

Taylor firmly believed in developing “captains of industry” rather than waiting on natural-born leaders to come along (Taylor, 1911). He also recognized a need for more involvement from the supervisors in the workplace to help eliminate what he referred to as soldiering, or, laxed employee output. He said, “The 30 percent to 100 percent increase in wages which the workmen are able to earn beyond what they receive under the old type of management, coupled with the daily intimate shoulder to shoulder contact with the management, entirely removes all cause for soldiering” (Taylor, 1911).

As the turn of the twentieth century neared, the progressive landscape begged for more efficient business practices (The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, line 16). This was the optimal time for the principles by which operational capacity could be measured, analyzed, streamlined, and controlled to take hold. This system then became a cornerstone on beset of the Great Depression and followed by future management theorists from then on after. One criticism of Scientific Management is that it demanded top-performance in every worker and near perfect throughput on the production line, developing into a quasi authoritarian-style form of bureaucracy.

Workers were afraid to out-produce one another on the basis of peer pressure (Taylor, 1911). Taylor’s system was based on good intention, but just lacked understanding of the human side to the workplace. This left room for the work of Elton Mayo to yield fruition. Elton Mayo (Human Relations) Elton Mayo became famous through the Western Electric Company research project. The initial purpose of the project was to find ways to improve worker productivity. He and his team looked at how lighting, rest breaks, room temperature, etc. ffected worker productivity (Mayo, 2006). Through his research, he found a distinct discovery knows as the “Hawthorne Effect”, which described an increase in output by workers who perceived that they are being watched and studied somehow (Mayo, 2006). Mayo viewed the Hawthorne Effect as a symptom of a bigger issue. He then diverted from his original hypothesis of physical factors to the examination the socio-political factors. What he found was that employees valued acceptance by their peers more than anything else (Mayo, 2006).

Also unique about Mayo’s observations was the paradigm-burst that employees were not motivated primarily due to compensation, but were motivated primarily due to job satisfaction; this, of course, was a stark difference in Taylor’s theory that men were motivated best when they were given wages that were commensurate with their skill level. In support of Mayoism, as his principles later became known for, I applaud his principles of human relations that captured the essence of the Progressive Era in that they advanced employee respect in the workplace.

Due to his influence, business leaders began to ask the question, what can be done to make our employees happier? New policies were adopted such as exit interviews, participative problem solving, and most novel of all – human relations (Mayo, 2006). Conclusion The essence of Taylor and Mayo’s legacies are of human ingenuity applied to enhance work settings, in terms of both people and processes. The best form of both elements can be seen in today’s business strategy of continuous process improvement, which is a group effort to optimize key processes in an organization.

From Six Sigma, to Gantt Charts, to Brainstorming, to Exit Interviews, it is hard to imagine a work setting without the production techniques these two management gurus inspired. For example, the Air Force has embraced a culture of innovation called Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century (AFSO21). Through AFSO21, Airmen are encouraged to look at the way they do business and think of ways to make their areas more efficient, more safe, energy-saving, and effective.

Many Fortune 500 companies have also incorporated continuous process improvement into their business mantra as a result of business management education guided by the wisdom of Taylor and Mayo. References American Society of Quality. < http://www. asq. org/learn-about-quality/history-of-quality/overview/industrial-revolution. html> Mayo, G. (2006). In Encyclopedia of the History of American Management. <http://www. credoreference. com. libraryproxy. cardean. edu/entry/contham/mayo_george_elton> Montagna, J. (1981).

The Industrial Revolution. <http://www. yale. edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1981/2/81. 02. 06. x. html#c> Taylor, F. (1911). The Principles of Scientific Management. New York: Harper Bros. , 1911: 5- 29. <http://www. fordham. edu/halsall/mod/1911taylor. html> The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers. “The Progressive Era. ” Teaching Eleanor Roosevelt, ed. by Allida Black, June Hopkins, et. al. (Hyde Park, New York: Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site, 2003). <http://www. nps. gov/archive/elro/glossary/progressive-era. htm>

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